Being authentic starts with being self-aware, knowing what motivates you and the clarity of your values. Think about people you know who are successful in their career. What are their personal attributes? What drives them?
Motivation is the most important determining factor of satisfaction, success and longevity in any career. Where there is strong motivation there is almost limitless energy, commitment and drive to succeed. Research has indicated the following categories of key career motivators:
- Material rewards: possessions and wealth
- Power: a position to control staff and resources
- Search for meaning: satisfying moral, emotional or spiritual values through work
- Expertise: high levels of accomplishment
- Creativity: innovating as an entrepreneur or artistically
- Affiliation: rewarding relationships at work
- Security: a secure and predictable future within work
- Status: recognition, admiration and respect
- The other key factor to authenticity is living by our values. The principles you live by should determine your priorities. How would you answer these questions?
- How would others describe your qualities?
- What are the principles you live by?
- What is important to you in your life?
- When have you been most fulfilled?
- How congruent is your life with your values?
- Do you leave your values at home when you go to work?
Being authentic is when you and your career are aligned with your values and motivation. You’ll find life is usually good - you’re satisfied and content. But when these things don’t align, you’ll find the underlying commitment will not be there, resulting in a feeling of no or low motivation. Although you may sometimes need to work in situations where you can’t totally be yourself, it’s hard to keep this up long term.
Successful people feel their work is a vocation, not basing their decision only on work that is well-paid. They are authentic, with no compromise to their values and drivers. Managing your reputation and career is not a one-time decision but a series of decisions made over your lifetime. Make a commitment today and make your decisions with authenticity.